The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman

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The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: The doors are open to the house of the Fabulous Foskett Family. See their circus performance captured in typical Quentin Blake style, but for what the book gains in imagery, it loses in imaginative words.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 32 Date: June 2015
Publisher: Andersen Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781783440351

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There are names to conjure with and Quentin Blake is certainly one of those. His tell-tale illustrations have been part of many a child’s upbringings, not at least for his work in the superb Roald Dahl books. However, can nostalgia and reverence cloud a person’s mind? Are the drawings of Blake strong enough to cope on their own when put alongside words that are not at a Dahl level?

Roll up, roll up and come and meet The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus. Each member of this extended family have a skill and they are all happy to show you. Some of them are strong men and women, some are clowns, some can juggle, whilst others have wonderful pets. Put them altogether in one house and you have chaos, but would you really want to visit again?

It is not always clear with books written for 2-5 years olds if the author started to write the words and these inspired the illustrations, of if the pictures came first and then the words. Quentin Blake and John Yeoman’s The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus is a good example of this. Did the esteemed nature of Blake mean that the drawings were started first and then the words etched in to correspond? This may not be the case, but it feels like it.

On a visual level The Fabulous is vintage Blake, his distinct drawing style is all over every image and any older reader will get pangs of warm nostalgia as they reminisce about the likes of The BFG or Matilda. It is a shame that at times the pages feel like a series of frames painted on separate canvases, then put together into a book in no real order. The hefty use of white space around the people does not help this as there is a disconnect and too much empty space.

You cannot go too wrong with a Blake illustration, but you can go wrong with the wording. Blake/Yeoman’s script is highly uninspiring. It is just a series of loose rhymes about the family member you are meeting. This happens over and over again until the book ends. There is no story and you feel like you have been guided through a gallery, rather than told any narrative. This may be OK for an adult who enjoys Blake, but for a child who does not know their Quentin from their William, no Blake is going to be enough to distract them from the lack of story and slightly empty pages. The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus is a reasonable book for sharing, but won’t hold the attention for long as it relies a little too much on nostalgia, rather than trying to create new memories.

More adventures in the Big Tent can be found in My Circus by Xavier Deneux and Claude at the Circus by Alex T Smith.

Buy The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman at Amazon.com.


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